Community Post: Some Games Are Better On Co-op

Screenshot by Flickr User: jsb31786
Screenshot by Flickr User: jsb31786

Around the time I got my Xbox 360 a few years ago, I didn’t have an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Friends who had an Xbox and a Gold subscription kept telling me I needed to get one. The reason? You can only play with your friends online if you have a subscription. This was also around the time when I was working at a part-time job and my finances were pretty tight.

Paying for a Gold subscription was quite expensive when you factor in the salary I was earning at the time. It wasn’t like I had no intention of getting one. It was just going to take some time for me to get one. The other issue was I didn’t have too many multiplayer games in my possession either. I wasn’t in any rush to get the subscription. Luckily, I’m blessed with good friends and family. My cousin took it upon himself to buy me a Gold subscription card for Christmas and one of my best friends decided to get me Halo Reach to start me on the path of multiplayer games I could play with both of them. Yup, truly blessed.

I generally like playing games by myself. I want the ability to absorb the story, the game environment, and to just have a quiet moment between me and the game. I knew playing online and on co-op with my friends would be fun, but there are times when you just want to be alone without the distraction of having to talk on a headset while you play. I like paying attention to the dialogue being said in a game, and when you have your friends talking at the same time a character in a game is talking, it’s really hard to stay focused on both. But when I do play co-op, I only want to play with people I know rather than random strangers who are paired up with you in a party match game.

I’m not the best player in the world, and I rather be playing in the company of friends who aren’t asses and judgey about how much I suck at first person shooters. From what I have read of people who do play co-op and are matched with total strangers who are playing the same game as you are, not all players are nice and respectful of other players who may not be as good as they are. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum, you may be a better player than this person from whateverville USA, and they are a sore player because of it and insult you. That’s a separate issue and a different topic for another time though.

Eventually, I did discover how some games are better to play with friends than alone. Take for instance, Borderlands. When I received the game as a gift, I was told by others who have already played the game and completed it that it’s better to play with someone else than on single-player mode. I never had the chance to try it on single-player, but when I managed to get together with maybe one or three of my friends for a game of Borderlands, they were right about it being an infinitely better experience to play as a group than alone.

Large groups of enemies are easier to take on as a group. Whatever your weaknesses are when you play the game, there’s someone who will have your back. Strategies can be built and agreed upon to take bosses down. One person might say, “You distract him by doing this and then I’ll take him from behind when he’s completely trained on you.” There’s also some silliness and goofing around when you play with friends.

I remember one time when I played Borderlands with my cousin, my best friend, and my best friend’s girlfriend. There were points in the game where you could get a vehicle, and my best friend’s girlfriend loved getting a pink car and trolling her own boyfriend by threatening to run his character over. It was hilarious hearing my best friend shout, “No, don’t run me over!” and you see his character running away from the pink car. I would sit in the gunner seat and watch as this craziness was happening before my eyes.

Another friend who I have been finishing up Borderlands with recently told me she never finished the story mode for the first game alone, but she finished it for Borderlands 2. She found the world of Pandora in the first game a bit drab and depressing while she played by herself. It also didn’t help that enemies got too hard to fight against on her own. By having the two of us play together, it made going through the entire story mode easier to do. There were also some funny moments that happened while we played and weird game glitches we experienced together.

I also think an advantage of playing a game that has co-op in their story modes is it makes you more likely to finish a game than if you played it on your own. I can’t tell you how many times I have started games on my own, only to not finish it because I get distracted by other games that keep coming out.

While I wouldn’t trade those moments where I can sit down and play a game by myself, I do enjoy finding a day and time with friends to play co-op. Not only do you get to experience the game together for the first time (or maybe for the twentieth time), but it gives you some good memories you can reminisce over. It’s also the best way to do stupid things with friends you wouldn’t have done otherwise if you are alone.

16 Comments

  1. duckofindeed says:

    One thing I actually like about playing “Hunter: The Reckoning” was that, the more players you have, the more zombies there are. I remember when I played with friends, there were tons of zombies, and it was more exciting. There were times you’d get surrounded and have to fight your way out, but when I played alone, there were a lot less. This kind of took away from the excitement of the game, as the number of enemies wasn’t so overwhelming. Co-op can be more fun when it makes games easier, but sometimes it is more fun when it makes games harder, too.

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    1. simpleek says:

      That’s true. Usually the more players you have in a game, the more enemies you seem to have to fight. Also enemy levels tend to be a bit higher, therefore making it more of a challenge to lower their health bar to nothing. Sometimes playing a game where there isn’t a bit of a challenge can be boring, but bring in two or three others, and then it becomes an exciting way to test your abilities and to work together to beat a level.

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  2. Sarca says:

    I agree. The hubs and I played Borderlands in co-op, and I couldn’t imagine playing it by myself. We’ve moved on to B2.

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    1. simpleek says:

      That’s great to hear. After playing Borderlands on co-op with my friends, I don’t think I can play this game without having at least one other person playing it with me. It seems like the game would be lacking if I played it alone.

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  3. Jacob says:

    I’m definitely like you in this regard: I’d love multiplayer games if I didn’t have to play them with other people ha ha. Something as technically impressive as Destiny proves that much of the technological barriers on multiplayer game developers are gone, but they’ll never be able to surmount the barrier that most people are rude and unpleasant to play with.

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    1. simpleek says:

      As I mentioned in the post, I tend not to bother to use the multiplayer feature in most games I own because I don’t like the possibility of randomly being matched with someone who may or may not be a jerk to me when we play together. At least if I know you well enough, I’m perfectly fine playing online in that case. Those times I have played with friends it enhanced my gaming experience in so many ways that I always can’t wait until we get together and play again.

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      1. Jacob says:

        Yeah, that requires good friends that ALSO like the game you like. That’s always been a hard recipe to put together for me.

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  4. Hatm0nster says:

    You were right about Borderlands being better in a group. I’ve played a few times on my own and let me tell you, it is a boring, boring, game when played solo. It’s one of those games that gets its vital spark from interacting with other players.

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    1. simpleek says:

      Looks like I’m not missing much by not playing the game on single-mode. It’s amazing how much your game experience can change by a lot when you play multiplayer vs. single in some games. In the case of Borderlands, I think that game is designed to really be played with other people, even though you can play alone if you want to. Then again, why would you?

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      1. Hatm0nster says:

        It’s definitely designed to be played with others, when you play alone it loses all meaning. There really is no reason to play alone unless you’re the competitive sort that wants to keep up with all your friends.

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    2. Sofa Frog says:

      I agree, I have only played this series on my own. I love being a class that can heal and healing all my friends. Plus being able to chat to friends helps break up the boring side quests.

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      1. simpleek says:

        You make a good point. Not all the side quests in a game are entertaining, but when you are able to complete them with a friend, you hardly notice how trivial and tiresome they can be. In fact, they make it more fun to do.

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  5. soaringwings says:

    I’m the same way with co-op/multiplayer games. When I play, it’s with people I know. I would feel too odd talking with total strangers, especially with all the horror stories I hear. I could play without voice chat enabled, but I feel communication is definitely a big part of the fun. Otherwise, it’s not much different than playing against/with really sophisticated computers.

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    1. duckofindeed says:

      I don’t typically play multiplayer games, but I agree it would be best to play with people you know. The only time I ever did something like that (kind of) was when I played this online RPG, and right from the start, some of the people were not very nice.

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    2. simpleek says:

      I’m sure it’s not bad to talk to complete strangers, but I do tend to feel awkward when I don’t know the person I’m playing with on the other side in any sort of capacity whatsoever. I know some friends have had good and bad experiences playing with total strangers, but then again most of the time they don’t really have chat enabled when they play co-op.

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